#MEMEOFTHEWEEK: Neil Brown Jr, Chad from INSECURE

Non-Fiction

Petty and incredulous, a look that conveys innocent intent while masking dubious intents — and a shady eye. Feign a well meaning spirit for the TL while sneaking what could be a brutal gut punch.
Check out INSECURE’s Chad on Sundays 10:30 PM Est. at HBO.

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Foresight

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By: Steven Underwood

Mirror,Mirror, cast upon me

Tell me anything I don’t see in the dark.
A bog of memberance.

Plagues inside me.

Scars so wide and deep within.

Tumoured sorrows,

Why was I cursed to live?

I drown in marshes

Swallow sadness, dirt and grime

I taste tomorrow,

I recoil,

Then, I hope you’ll save today.
Mirror,

Broke inside me,

Is this the reflection I paid to see?
Our hearts go forward,

Placed on scaling,

I wonder whose a true strength goes on.

Yours is tempered,

Sheltered from love,

But too many holes

And punctured plights .

Mine is golden,

Swelled too large and —

Surely it can no longer beat.
Mirror, Mirror —

Locked inside me,

Keep the light off of me,

My shame is that i fear always,

A lonely, cold destiny.

Mirror, mirror —

Please come for me.

I cant live on,

Please watch from here on,

Keep these shadows off of–

Save me from the world to be.

Im a saddened sun,

Whose lost intensity.

#TRENDSETTER: Talia Rashay, Columbus, OH

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture, Non-Fiction

Talia Rashay, 22, Columbus, OH; Dancer

IG: _taliarashay

Twitter: @_ImShay

“The possibilities are endless when you do what you love and love what you do!”

***

By Steven Underwood

 

When I met her, she had a dance at the base of her foot and a kick in her step that set flowers to bloom down the halls of our middle school. We weren’t rich, but her presence always was. Talia Rashay (Or simply, Shay), a Columbus native, had a beautiful art to her that was like smelling spring. She collected anything orange; she sung in the choir; she was pure and cool and vibed like jazz in moonlight behind a pair of glasses and a butterscotch smile.

Talia’s RAW profile sings her love for dance: “Dancing lives in me, music frees my soul and I express my love through the connection of movement and music” – she follows this with a heart emoji, because she’s just sweet like that.
Few who know her do not also know her reverence for family – and friends that are family, like her heart-and-soul, Brittany Dinea. Her brother is featured stage right in all of her snaps, and she smiles next to him like a proud mother. That butterscotch smile she reserves for love, affection and dedication. Her brother was an athlete for FRANKLIN HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL, a public school on the Southwest side of Columbus that has become the seed for Ohio’s most powerful and inspirational young minds like the revered Marshawn McCarrel, model, Brandon Lynn Watters, local entrepreneur Tony Harvard and Community Organizer, Matthew Quinn.

Often, her left manifests Brittaney, a bohemian princess who moves through Columbus like a nymph of concrete and beauty through perseverance, filling walls and canvas with art and inspiration. This inspiration flows into how she moves: always seductive, but rhythmically modest and conservative, like a dance of spring fertility – seduction for the sake of life, rather than excess and sloppy gluttony.

This kind of movement is rediculously difficult in Hip Hop. The artform is naturally bombastic and raw. It is delivered in truths: both measured and unmeasured, brutal and delicate. Few people ever call the Truth beautiful, but somehow Talia moves beautifully. On her Instagram, followers can find a video of her practice with Tru Kingdom Mega Crew from Columbus, Ohio. Far from alone on the stage, Talia’s actions are complimentary, but motivates an blossoming energy under the strobe lights. She doesn’t seem to ever strive for the spotlight of the performance, but lures it in as a matter of personality while up there. She lacks bombastic move, but — as every dancer knows — it’s not in what you do, it’s how you do it.

Stripe Shirts and Chocolate Ears with a Butterscotch Smile (PC: _Taliarashay)

Such art is never a product of talent. Anyone could move to something sexually; anyone could step out on a floor and live in the moment selfishly. Talia’s talent comes best through hardwork and dedication to a craft that is meant to convey love. Though her Twitter Profile (@_ImShay) whispers of “Naturally Gifted” across the bio, her actual talents are a reflection of a flower pushing through icy bedrock and overwhelming snowfall: a promise of tomorrow’s spring day.

All Rights for the Featured Image are due to Visual Artist, Brittaney Dinea, and can be found @Brittanydinea on Instagram.

Resent

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

Numb like the first time I said I hate you,

That’s what I am,

I worshipped the wrong words we shared;

I bent the knee on brown rice and glass

And acknowledged the kinship like

The pupper lapping sweetened water from a bowl.

Neglect my sorrows once, and I will come

Neglect my tears twice, and I follow

Neglect my heart thrice, cross it, and I will die

I hope those days are over

I pray that solace into my open palms

My bare lap

And my solemn dreams.

Then maybe I can finally feel

A Wall

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

You walk into a black wall and barely recognize that it’s built of brown bodies

And ask if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

There are arms mangled into the body, jabbing into broken ribs and closed mouths and shuttered eyes and pork-rolled tongues.

There is sweat dripping down their body in crimson, mingling with blood in a marriage of decay and debauchery and self-loathing.

You still wonder if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

You turn to the Asian pharmacist around the corner and ask him, and he has no answers and so you ask the Jewish librarian, and he ignores you outright. You ask the Hispanic barber and he does not want to speak your blistering white language on his pink tongue and you ask the Arabic teacher and he is afraid to answer because you wear a red hat. You ask every spectrum and color of the rainbow until the world is a searing maelstrom of every color and every pink, gooey tongue and every shade but black, until you return to the wall and patiently stare.

Then, you ask the wall. You open your mouth and speak.

“Why wall,” You say in a frantic manner. “Why are you joints connected and your foots in mouthes and your heels pressed to throat with the aggression of a boot, or a hammer or a world-smashing, all-ending fist of iron?”

The wall speaks in a powerful manner, in a warm tone that sounds like your father who abandoned, and the mother who sacrificed and the sister went ignored and the brother who protested nothing. “It is because, we cannot untangle from ourselves.”

Rose Thorn

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By: Steven Underwood

A Poem on betrayal and endings.

***

I loved my brother more than me

And with this love he stole from me;

I loved my mother more than god

And she owned my life with a broken rod;

I chose my love with catered rose

But lost my love in bitter throws;

Heart so pure once filled with error

I fixed the crack with twisted terror.

 

I hated my brother more than I

And blackened my heart with anger’s dye;

I resented my mama with acid ire

And chose only dark desire.

I buried my lovely with withered rose

And forgot her love beneath my toes;

Heart so black filled with pain

For a new world I wish to gain.

 

#TRENDSETTER: mufaro limited, Cincinnati, OH

#TRENDSETTER, Fashion, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

Product Rating: 4/5

Ohio has a lot of inspiring artists walking the scarlet pavements, and even more inspiring black businesses. On the suggestion of model, Brandon Watters, I decided to look for one instead of supporting some white enterprise and feeding the capitalist agenda. I still ended up feeding the capitalist agenda, but I also ordered one of my new favorite tops.

Mufaro’s boutique is a collection of largely unisex East African-inspired streetwear. The founder, Mufaro (IG: mufaro_ltd), is a Zimbabwean born designer from Cincinnati, Ohio who was featured in numerous fashion shows including the Ankara Miami fashion week, the RAW Artist showcase, and the Emani +Mufaro Expose in Dallas, Texas. Mufaro LTD.

But, even with these ventures under his breath, I only really needed to know he was an Ohio artist, and I leapt right into his site and put my coin into his purse.

I ordered the Dashiki Extended Shirt/Skirt ($60.00). A neat black long sleeve with a flowing skirt covered in Zimbabwean-inspired print and three zippers on either side and up the tail. It is a unisex piece that men can wear as an extended tee (which I do), or as a skirt.

Photos courtesy of Mufaro LTD homepage

Ever since I collected the shirt, I have worn it exactly five times, and it has never failed to impress. It’s infinitely versatile: suitable for numerous occasions and makes a very clear statement about what I am about. I get compliments and unlike when I usually try out something new in my style choices, I don’t feel any bit of self-consciousness and hyper visibility. The one issue that I encounter is that many of the western-inspired styles that frequent my closet do not – or cannot really match the design choice. But, I enjoy a challenge; and this outfit gives me a challenge to own my own unique style – because style should never come easy, especially when you’re doing it for yourself and not for the power in the brand.

The design is beautiful, and the only real difficulty I had with the end product was a trouble with the stitching that came undone on the inseam when stretched just a little too much when I pulled the shirt on. Still, the product is beautiful.

***

mufaro limited New line imagined by Zimbabwean born Mufaro (male) Based in Ohio (Cincinnati) Inquiries|mufaroltd@gmail |Ankara Miami fashion week www.mufaroltd.com